Date sent: 26 May 2017, 12:31

From: Elena Pian (

Subject: Prof. Giovanni Bignami

Dear Division D Members,

We have received the sad news that Professor Giovanni (Nanni) Bignami passed away suddenly on May 25th, in Madrid, where he was attending a meeting. Nanni was a former director of the Italian Space Agency, of the Italian Institute of Astrophysics, and of the CESR in Toulouse, France. He contributed to many space missions, served for 10 years in the role of Principal Investigator of the ESA XMM-Newton satellite, was a former President of the ESA Space Science Advisory Committee and a former President of COSPAR. He leaves a vast heritage in the field of high energy astrophysics, where he was leading a very active research. Among numerous contributions, his discovery and studies of the lack of radio emission from the "Geminga" pulsar have had a big impact in the area of neutron stars. As a Professor of physics and astronomy in various Italian universities, he has inspired the careers and scientific lives of many students and young scientists. He was a talented and engaging science communicator, with a long record of popular astronomy articles in newspapers and books and of participation to TV programs of scientific outreach. We will sorely miss him as an excellent scientist and iconic colleague. We convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife Patrizia, his children Daniele, Elena and Giulia, and his entire family.

Chryssa Kouveliotou, Elena Pian and Anna Watts


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